10 Day Habit Refresh
Day Nine: Sleep
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Three questions we’ll answer about each habit in this series
In this series I will answer three questions about each of the habits:
What benefit does this habit bring a post-op patient?
How might the lack of this habit effect a post-op patient?
How can you best build up this habit in the post-op daily life?
What benefit does sleep bring a post-op patient?
So far in this series the habits have all focused on post-op patients specifically.
While some habits apply to a non-surgery patient, most of them have had the specific view of after bariatric surgery.
Today we are talking about the correlation between sufficient sleep and body weight. That means this is not specific to weight loss surgery patients but true for overall weight control.
The benefits of sleep are quite significant and very much similiar to exercise and water. I find that interesting. It seems these basic biological needs of the body have a huge impact on managing weight. Things get off kilter with sleep, water and physical activity and it impacts food choices and metabolism!
This is yet another way the phrase “back to basics” holds truth. Sometimes the basics means the most basic things your body needs. It’s amazing what a good bedtime, enough water and physical movement can do for us! This makes sense why we focus on these things with children in their years of development.
What is the Correlation Between Sleep and Weight?
It seems the connection between sleep and weight is similar to hydration, exercise and consistent meal times.
Broken record but once again, the most basic needs of the body. Adequate sleep, water, nutrition and movement.
They all relate to metabolism.
So let’s take a moment to talk about metabolism. We often hear the word and think “weight loss” such as the sentence I have no metabolism.
By the way, that statement is untrue. A breathing, living organism has metabolism. The simple definition of metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body’s cells that turn food into energy.
Our body needs this energy to do everything from moving to thinking to growing. This is starting to make sense to me that not having enough of those basic needs of the body would make someone feel physically and mentally tired.
Sleep and Metabolism
Research suggests not enough sleep causes negative changes in metabolism.
In studies of adults with an average of 4 hours a night compared with 10 hours a night, hunger and appetite were increased in the sleep restricted group. Especially hunger for calorie dense foods high in carbohydrate.
While the studies will look at 4 hours compared to 10 hours because they want to see the difference between those ends of the spectrum, I think most of us can relate to having more than 4 hours of sleep but still not enough sleep and struggle with hunger, cravings and eating from fatigue.
Having Good Sleep Habits After Surgery
To answer the question I set out to start with, the benefit of having good sleep habits after surgery is to set you up well for the benefits of the surgery itself.
A well rested body will be more likely to identify true hunger compared to eating from fatigue. A rested body would be more ready to exercise and have the mental and physical benefits of activity. A post-op who is hydrated, rested, eating consistent meal times and exercising is going to feel great compared to one or several of those things being off track.
How might the lack of sleep effect a post-op patient?
It seems simple enough to answer this question because the reverse would be true of what we just described about the patient who has a good sleep schedule.
In fact, I think providers should ask about sleep habits and schedules when they ask about water, food and exercise. They all connect and when one of those things is off, it can impact the other.
The lack of good consistent “sleep hygiene” will certainly complicate a weight loss journey.
If a patient is consistently staying up too late or going to bed at different times each night, there is a higher likelihood they will struggle with hunger and cravings for high carb foods.
The good news is that increasing you water intake and getting to bed a little earlier can make a huge difference in how you feel!
How can you best build this habit in the post-op life?
Let me take a moment and acknowledege that sleep is a huge struggle for some and can be full of emotions.
How frustrating to WANT to sleep but your brain or body is not letting you.
My Mom has battled sleep for more than a decade (probably longer) and I cringe when she tells me how much sleep she got the night before. I am amazed how she operates. She has seen sleep specialists plenty of times. She’s read books, bought new sheets, wears sleep masks, has sound machines, sticks to her routines and bedtimes. Sometimes tries a different sleep schedule to make her brain sleepier. It’s really hard.
If you are in that camp I am so sorry! If you haven’t already read the books and seen the specialists, I encourage you to do so. Any improvement you might have from doing so would be worth it.
It’s not your fault. For some it can be the frustrating reality of aging or years of difficult sleep schedules making it hard to get your brain and body into a good rhythm.
For some of you, it’s just about getting back to good bedtime habits.
Maybe you need to set an alarm to go start you bedtime routine. Maybe you need a bedtime routine. Maybe you need to turn screens off at a certain time.
While it may not seem like a nutrition related goal, sleep is a wonderful health goal and can be your goal for the Focus Challenge! Many patients have made bedtime their goal for the 4 weeks of the challenge and seen huge improvement in their hunger.
Just one more day! I’ll be back tomorrow to finish us up with vitamins!
*By the way! Membership prices are set to increase on January 21st, 2022 for the first time in 4 years. Lock in the current rate when you join before that date!
Final day coming at ya right here!!